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04.06.2014 » World Cup Group A preview: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon

FIFA World Cup 2014 Group A wallpaper

We're roughly one week away from the 2014 FIFA World Cup kickoff and there's no better time than now to start previewing and analyzing every single group that was drawn into this first stage of the tournament. The first one is obviously Group A, where the host nation Brazil will try to dictate their terms against Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon.

A total of 32 teams were divided into 8 different groups and they will all be fighting for a ticket for the World Cup's last-16 stage. With the tournament starting right next week on June 12, we'll start by bringing you a quick analysis of Group A, where we can find Brazil, Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon. On a first look, it might seem that the hosts Brazil will have their job facilitated, but as we look closely into their opponents' weaknesses and strengths, we feel forced to say that this might end up being one of the most competitive groups in this tournament. Nevertheless, our picks to go through in Group A are Brazil and Croatia, precisely the two teams who will step onto the pitch in São Paulo on June 12, for the 2014 FIFA World Cup opening match.

FIFA World Cup 2014 - Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon:

Brazil

One could say that they need no introduction, but even that being the case here, we'll still try to outline a few major points from this Brazilian Team generation. The 5-times World champions come into this tournament rated as the top favorites to lift the much-wanted trophy next July 13, even though they are currently ranked 4th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking table.

They won't have an easy task in Group A, as they'll have to battle against a very talented Croatia side, an always aggressive Mexico team and the quite unpredictable threat from Cameroon. As usual in such small group-size stages, the first game can turn out to be crucial and anything other than a win against Real Madrid's Luka Modric and his teammates, might complicate Brazil's life in this World Cup.

As for Brazil's 23-men squad, they are surely hoping to be able to rely on Neymar's talent throughout the whole tournament, something that might add even more pressure on the FC Barcelona player's shoulders. Similarly to what happened with other football stars (Cristiano Ronaldo being the prime example), the 22-year old forward arrives to this FIFA World Cup still struggling a bit with recent physical problems that he had with his club, but he's certainly expected to pick up his best form as the tournament progresses...

Brazil National Team coach:
Luiz Felipe Scolari

Brazil 23-men squad list for the World Cup
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar, Jefferson, Victor
Defenders: David Luiz, Dante, Thiago Silva, Henrique, Maicon, Dani Alves, Marcelo, Maxwell
Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho, Fernandinho, Ramires, Oscar, Willian, Hernanes
Forwards: Hulk, Bernard, Neymar, Jo, Fred

Probable line-up/starting eleven for the World Cup:
Brazil XI: Julio Cesar; Marcelo, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Daniel Alves; Fernandinho, Ramires, Oscar; Hulk, Neymar, Fred.

Brazil - World Cup group matches:
-> June 12: Brazil vs Croatia
-> June 17: Brazil vs Mexico
-> June 23: Cameroon vs Brazil

Brazil players ready to samba in the FIFA World Cup 2014

 

Croatia

As it usually happens with many Balcan teams, Croatia brings a squad full of raw talent into this World Cup. They never won any major international tournament before and they are currently ranked the 20th strongest team in the FIFA's World rankings. In terms of betting odds, most of the sports bookmakers out there don't seem to believe that this team has what it takes to pull off a big surprise this year, and they're offering a 151 payoff factor for every euro/dollar put on Croatia winning the World Cup.

As mentioned previously, they'll debut in the tournament against Brazil on June 12 and if for any reason the hosts decide to underestimate Croatia's true value, we might very well witness a shocking surprise right in the opening round. The Croatian Team will count with several experienced players such as Real Madrid and Sevilla midfielders Luka Modric and Rakitic, but also with Bayern Munich forward Mario Mandzukic and the former Arsenal star, Eduardo.

Croatia National Team coach:
Niko Kovač

Croatia 23-men squad list for the World Cup
Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa, Danijel Subasic, Oliver Zelenika
Defenders: Darijo Srna, Domagoj Vida, Sime Vrsaljko, Danijel Pranjic, Vedran Corluka, Gordon Schindelfeld
Midfielders: Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic, Ognjen Vukojevic, Ivan Mocinic, Sammir
Forwards: Mario Mandzukic, Nikica Jelavic, Ivica Olic, Eduardo Da Silva, Ivan Perisic, Ante Rebic

Probable line-up/starting eleven for the World Cup:
Croatia XI: Pletikosa; Srna, Corluka, Schildenfeld, Vida; Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric, Vukojevic, Kovacic; Olic, Mandzukic.

Croatia - World Cup group matches:
-> June 12: Brazil vs Croatia
-> June 18: Cameroon vs Croatia
-> June 23: Croatia vs Mexico

Croatia players celebrations ahead of the World Cup 2014

 

Mexico

Mexico only managed to qualify into this FIFA World Cup after going through a 2-leg playoff round against New Zealand. Their campaign in the CONCACAF group stage was from being brilliant, as they've finished it in 4th place, behind the United States, Costa Rica and Honduras. Nevertheless, they come up ranked in the 19th place at the FIFA World Rankings and just like Croatia, bookies are also offering a 151 payoff factor for those who believe in Mexico's chances of winning the World Cup.

No one doubts that the Mexico National Team is always filled with talented and very competitive players. Their poor campaign in the qualifiers for this FIFA World Cup might actually help them easening the pressure and the big expectations coming from their nation's fans and media, and that's something that can surely turn out to play to their favor.

With Carlos Vela unavailable to give his contribute to the Mexico Team in this World Cup, it's up to Manchester United's forward Javier Hernandez ("Chicharito") and Villarreal's Giovani dos Santos to become their nation's leaders on the pitch and try taking them at least into the last-16 stage.

Mexico National Team coach:
Miguel Herrera

Mexico 23-men squad list for the World Cup
Goalkeepers: Jesus Corona, Guillermo Ochoa, Alfredo Talavera
Defenders: Paul Aguilar, Andres Guardado, Miguel Layun, Rafael Marquez, Hector Moreno, Diego Reyes, Francisco Javier Rodriguez, Carlos Salcido
Midfielders: Isaac Brizuela, Marco Fabian, Hector Herrera, Juan Carlos Medina, Luis Montes, Carlos Pena, Jose Juan Vazquez
Forwards: Giovani Dos Santos, Javier Hernandez, Raul Jimenez, Oribe Peralta, Alan Pulido

Probable line-up/starting eleven for the World Cup:
Mexico XI: Talavera; Moreno, Layun, Reyes, Salcido; Vazquez, Herrera, Giovani dos Santos, Guardado; Javier Hernandez, Jimenez.

Mexico - World Cup group matches:
-> June 13: Mexico vs Cameroon
-> June 17: Brazil vs Mexico
-> June 23: Croatia vs Mexico

Mexico celebrating the World Cup 2014 qualification

 

Cameroon

The Cameroon National Team had to go through a 2-leg playoff against Tunisia, and all this in order to earn their ticket for the upcoming FIFA World Cup. They've beaten them with a clear 4-1 result on aggregate and just like any other team in this tournament, they're looking forward to make a good impression. They are ranked in 50th on the FIFA World Rankings standings and for those of you dreaming of making some good money this summer, you can win 500 euros if you put 1 euro on Cameroon winning the World Cup.

Cameroon are often perceived as a 1-man team, since it's usually Chelsea's Samuel Etoo who draws most of the spotlight and attention when this nation's name comes to mind. However, and from the 23-man squad list that will be in Brazil this summer, only two players are still playing in Cameroon. All the other 21 athletes are already competing in European leagues for quite a while and the 33-year old Samuel Etoo will surely get some valuable help from teammates like Barceona's midfielder Alex Song or Joel Matip from Schalke 04.

Cameroon National Team coach:
Volker Finke

Cameroon 23-men squad list for the World Cup
Goalkeepers: Charles Itandje, Sammy Ndjock, Loic Feudjou
Defenders: Allan Nyom, Dany Nounkeu, Cedric Djeugoue, Aurelien Chedjou, Nicolas Nkoulou, Henri Bedimo, Benoit Assou-Ekotto
Midfielders: Eyong Enoh, Jean Makoun, Joel Matip, Stephane Mbia, Landry Nguemo, Alex Song, Edgar Salli
Forwards: Samuel Eto’o, Eric Choupo Moting, Benjamin Moukandjo, Vincent Aboubakar, Pierre Webo, Fabrice Olinga

Probable line-up/starting eleven for the World Cup:
Cameroon XI: Itandje; Assou-Ekotto, Djeugoue, Nkoulou, Enoh; Mbia, Song, Moukandjo, Matip; Samuel Etoo, Webo.

Cameroon - World Cup group matches:
-> June 13: Mexico vs Cameroon
-> June 18: Cameroon vs Croatia
-> June 23: Cameroon vs Brazil

Cameroon Samuel Etoo ready for the World Cup 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo next game will be an international friendly between Portugal and Mexico, scheduled for June 6 of 2014, in Boston. You can watch Juventus live stream, Mexico vs Portugal, Spain vs El Salvador, Brazil vs Serbia, and Germany vs Armenia, all matches provided from our soccer live pages.

Portugal next game:
Mexico vs Portugal
kick-off time (06-06-2014):

Jakarta (Indonesia) | GMT+7: 07:30
Spain
(Madrid) | GMT+2: 02:30
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | GMT+1: 01:30
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | GMT-3: 21:30
New York (United States) | GMT-4: 20:30
Los Angeles (United States) | GMT-7 17:30
Beijing (China) | GMT+8: 08:30

Sources: ronaldo7.net / foxsports.com / fifa.com

Brazil home and away shirts for the FIFA World Cup 2014:
Brazil jerseys kits in the World Cup 2014

Croatia home and away shirts for the FIFA World Cup 2014:Croatia jerseys kits in the World Cup 2014

Mexico home and away shirts for the FIFA World Cup 2014:
Mexico jerseys kits in the World Cup 2014

Cameroon home and away shirts for the FIFA World Cup 2014:
Cameroon jerseys kits in the World Cup 2014

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